Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aryan Invasions (c. 2000 B.C.E.)

Aryan Invasions (c. 2000 B.C.E.)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Indo-Europeans vs. the

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Indus River valley

DECLARATION: No formal declaration

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Territorial conquest by the
expanding Indo-Europeans

OUTCOME: Indo-Europeans established domination in the



TREATIES: No formal treaty

There is little known of the actual conflicts between the
invading Aryans and the native Dravidians of the Indus
River valley in today’s Pakistan, but they are generally
considered the beginning of military history in India/Pakistan
and southern Asia. The Aryans, a name that meant
“noble of birth and race,” migrated from their ancestral
home on the Eurasian steppes, crossing the Hindu Kush
east of the Iranian Plateau. Travelling in tribal groups of
varying sizes over a period of hundreds of years, they settled
in the land they called “Sapta Sindhu,” or the “land
of the seven rivers,” in which they found lush plains for
their pastoral lifestyle. They conquered not by barbarity
but by overwhelming the indigenous tribes with their
sophisticated battle tactics and their swift, spoke-wheeled
chariots, battle equipment never before used in the Indus
At first the Aryans had no written language. They
relied on the spoken word alone to preserve their elaborate
system of spiritual ideas, transmitted in a body of
poetry (later collected in the Rig Veda) that eventually
defined the character of the subcontinent. Mingling their
own oral traditions with ideas from the native populations,
the fusion of the two produced Sanskrit, the enduring
language of India. The Aryans’ spiritual ideas blended
with the beliefs of the indigenous people and evolved into
Hinduism, a religion that has survived some 4,000 years.

Further reading: Jean Haudry, The Indo-Europeans
(Washington, D.C.: Scot-Townsend Publishers, 1998);
Shrikant G. Talageri, Aryan Invasion Theory (A Reappraisal)
(Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1993); N. R. Waradpande,
ed., Mythical Aryans and Their Invasion (Columbia,
Mo.: South Asia Books, 1999).

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